To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the “Wizard of Oz” premiere, the following press release from Ancestry.com informs the reader of a bewitching past is uncovered for “Wicked Witch of The West” character played by Margaret Hamilton; Emerald City creator Frank Baum and visitors Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley all have ancestral ties to the Emerald Isle. See below:
“PROVO, UT–(Marketwired – August 15, 2014) – To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Hollywood premiere of The Wizard of Oz, Ancestry.com researchers have revealed a newly-discovered family history connection that links Margaret Hamilton, the legendary actress that brought the iconic “Wicked Witch of the West” to life on the big screen, to the Salem Witch Trials. Ancestry has also linked Emerald City creator L. Frank Baum and other actors from the cinematic classic to the Emerald Isle.
“We love the fun and unexpected things discovered on a daily basis on Ancestry.com. Finding the similarities between the Wizard of Oz cast and their iconic characters adds a touch of magical serendipity to the beloved classic,” said Michelle Ercanbrack, a Family Historian for Ancestry.com. “It goes to show that whether your ancestors were from Kansas or Ireland, there’s always something new to discover in your family history.”
Actress Margaret Hamilton has a connection to the Salem Witch Trials, as does the book’s author, L. Frank Baum. According to family history experts at Ancestry.com, Hamilton’s 5thgreat grandparents found themselves living in colonial America near Salem, Massachusetts in the year of the famous Salem Witch Trials, after immigrating to the U.S. from Ireland. Research also revealed Baum had ancestors who lived near Salem during that same time period. With the Wicked Witch of the West playing a prominent role in Baum’s story, the family history connection may have been the inspiration for the infamous character.
Maybe having “emerald” on the resume was also criteria for being cast in The Wizard of Oz. Hamilton and Baum are also joined by the film’s top stars in having ancestral connections to another land of emerald green — Ireland. Actors Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley who played “Dorothy,” the “Scarecrow” and the “Tin Man” respectively, all have ancestors hailing from the Emerald Isle. Garland’s roots go back to County Meath, while Bolger has family connections to County Limerick. Haley’s ancestors left Ireland in the 1800s.
Want to learn more about your own connection to the Emerald Isle or colonial era America? Visit Ancestry.com and search billions of historical records to discover your own family history.“